From The Pastor At St. Paul's UCC, Freeburg, IL

Is Jesus In Charge Or Not?

A few weeks ago I preached on the calling of the disciples in Mark 1 – wondering how the disciples could just drop everything and follow Jesus. The point in that sermon was that the disciples’ response had little to do with their interior attitude, psychology, etc., but everything to do with the fact that Jesus creates what he commands. He tells the storm to shut up, it does; he tells evil spirits to come out, they do; he tells a little girl to rise from the dead, she does. He creates what he commands.

But even back then a little voice was saying to me “are you sure you wanna say that?” Something gave me some reservation – and lo and behold, here in this coming Sunday’s gospel reading is an instance where Jesus commands – and the opposite happens! Mark 1:40-45 – Jesus heals a leper, then

“Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter. Mark 1:43-45 (ESV)

In this case, Jesus commands, and it was NOT so.

So what do you make of this? I suppose Arminians could use this as an example of people’s free will to obey Jesus or not. But then, is Jesus in charge? And what do we Reformed-theology types make of this?

I want to address this in this coming Sunday’s sermon – your comments, thoughts, etc. would be welcome. I promise not to quote you without your permission! 🙂

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One response

  1. My sermon title this Sunday is, “Jesus Is Not In Charge of Everything.” John Piper will love me for this. But hopefully, the attention grabbing title won’t be looked upon by the Savior as self-serving.

    But seriously, what prompts this half-assertion is Matthew 8:18-9:13. There, Jesus calms the stormy waters, exorcises demons, and heals the paralytic. That’s the “meat,” but the “bread” of this passage are 2 bookend stories that both have in common the theme of “calling.” In the 1st story, a guy says to Jesus, “I’ll follow you, but let me first…” Jesus will have nothing of it and says in essence, “now or never.” In the 2nd story, Jesus says to Matthew the tax collector, “Follow me” and he does. Two stories, two opposite responses to Jesus. Inbetween, the natural and supernatural world submits to Jesus’ command.

    Philippians 2 declares that one day, every knee will bow and confess the Lord Jesus. Until then, faith beckons.

    February 12, 2009 at 10:46 pm

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